Lusaka - The condition of Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa, who was admitted to a hospital in France after suffering a stroke more than three weeks ago, has improved, his deputy announced on Friday.

Vice-President Rupiah Banda said medical experts treating Mwanawasa at Percy Military Hospital, near Paris, were happy with the progress which the Zambian leader has made since he was admitted on July 1.

"The condition of Mwanawasa continues to improve," Banda said in a statement.

"The doctors treating Mwanawasa are satisfied with the steady progress he is making in his recovery."

The stroke which the 59-year-old suffered in Egypt on the eve of an African Union summit was his second in just about two years. He was airlifted to France after initially being treated in Cairo.

Many Zambians have begun to doubt the authenticity of the updates from the government on Mwanawasa's condition but Banda has rejected any suggestion that the government is hiding anything.

"I have no reason to lie, what we are giving you in the correct position," he has told local newspapers. - Sapa-AFP